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CHN/IRI - Iran to begin title defense in Group B; China opt for Gr. D; Lebanon in Gr. A

WUHAN, China (26th FIBA Asia Championship):  Twice defending champions Iran will match wits with GCC champions Qatar, East Asia’s Chinese Taipei and the qualifier from the “Stan” division of Middle Asia in Group B in the Preliminary Round of the 26th FIBA Asia Championship.

The draw for the 26th FIBA Asia Championship was completed at the host city Wuhan amidst a sparkling ceremony on the Yangzte River on Wednesday.

Vice Mayor of Wuhan Liu Shunni presided over the Draw Ceremony in the presence of Hu Dechun, Director of Administration of Sports of Hubei Province, Luo Changgang, Director of Economic and Technological Development Zone, Zhang Jin, Deputy Director of Admin. of Sports of Hubei Province, Former China National Team coach Liu Guiyi and the representatives of sponsors – KIA Motors, PEAK and Sportsfive.

FIBA Asia Deputy Secretary General Hagop Khajirian along with FIBA Asia Hon. Chairman Xin Lancheng, also the Secretary General of CBA, supervised the Draw proceedings.

Click here for the Photo Gallery of the Draw Ceremony

The 26th FIBA Asia Championship, also the qualifying event for the 2012 London Olympics, will be held from Sept 15-25.

The 26th FIBA Asia Championship, also the qualifying event for the 2012 London Olympics, will be held from Sept 15-25.

The champion team from Wuhan will directly qualify for the most significant sporting event at the British capital, while the No 2 and No 3 teams will qualify for the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament.

Hosts China as per the procedure of the draw opted to play in Group D after SEABA champions Philippines along with GCC duo UAE and Bahrain were drawn.

Lebanon, who qualified for the 26th FIBA Asia Championship directly by virtue of winning the title in the 3rd FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup last year were drawn in Group A along with the qualifier from the SAARC division of Middle Asia, SEABA’s Malaysia and recently crowned East Asian champions Korea.

Japan, who lost to Lebanon in the 3rd FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup, were drawn into Group C along with SEABA runners-up Indonesia, 2009 FIBA Asia Championship bronze medalists Jordan and another WABA team Syria.

The 26th FIBA Asia Championship is the fifth occasion when China will host this prestigious event – 1989 Beijing, 2001 Shanghai, 2003 Harbin and 2009 Tianjin are the earlier occasions.

The Draw process

The four semifinalists of the 3rd FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup – Lebanon, Japan, Qatar and Philippines – were seeded into four different groups, and the draw decided which group each of them will figure. Liu Guiyi conducted the draw for the seeded teams.

The two Middle Asian representatives along with Indonesia and UAE were drawn next. Hu Dechun drew the lots to decide which team goes where.

Luo Changgang conducted the draw for the next level involving Malaysia, Taipei, Syria and Bahrain to follow suit.

At this stage, China exercised their right – as hosts – of choice in the groupings and Zhang Jin drew Iran, Jordan and Korea into their respective groups.

Groupings for Preliminary Round

Group A: Lebanon, Middle Asia 1, Malaysia, Korea

Group B: Qatar, Middle Asia 2, Ch. Taipei, Iran

Group C: Japan, Indonesia, Syria, Jordan

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